thedungeondelver wrote:That's really just about it as far as it goes on UA, for me. I think it's a reasonable book that can be used largely as is. I think a good, thoughtful DM will consider each piece of it before integrating them into his or her campaign.
Falconer wrote:I’ll try to say my thoughts without getting too long (and so violating the whole idea of ’blog), or rehashing what has been said by hundreds of AD&D fans, hundreds of times. So, yeah, it’s a mixed-bag and definitely should be unofficial and DM-only despite what it says, and that’s the bottom line. That said, it is still open to criticism.
What I find to be missing from every discussion of UA is an analysis of the four crucial pages at the beginning which struggle to explain who did what. This isn’t like the Holy Three (MM/PH/DMG), which is Gygax’s game from Gygax’s typewriter from cover to cover. If I read it aright, UA was:
- Compiled and executed by Jeff Grubb and Kim Mohan, largely from DRAGON
- Roger Moore contributed Non-Human Deities and various other work from DRAGON
- Gary Gygax contributed Pole Arms and various other work from TSR/DRAGON
- Gary and Luke Gygax contributed spells and treasure
- Everything had to be critiqued and approved/disapproved by Frank Mentzer
Spells and Treasure make up the bulk of this book, and they make this book a totally usable mine for the DM, and are enough to guarantee authorship credit for Gary. Weaponless Combat System I is completely spot on, and Pole Arms are so wonderfully Gygax and really part of what makes D & D immortal. So on those strengths, I think UA is a must-have.
All the rest? Blah.
So, is EVERYTHING that is good here completely thanks to Gygax, and EVERYTHING that is bad here completely the fault of Grubb and Mentzer? As an unabashed Gygax fanboy, I would find comfort in that assertion. I think I’d have a pretty good case. Look, not one of the classes or races or new rules is in and of itself completely out of place in D & D or a totally bad idea. But they ARE uniformly fiddly, over-complex and over-powered. The EXECUTION is off, and the execution is not Gary’s. That is made explicit in the introduction!
What do you think of that?
Falconer wrote:Very illuminating. Thanks!
Falconer wrote:It would be cool to take all the Gygax "proto-UA" articles from Dragon and just combine those pages into a single PDF document. The same could be done for MM2 and WoG'83 but probably no need.
grodog wrote:I still prefer the barbarian from Dragon to the version in UA, ditto with some of the spells even.
Matthew wrote:grodog wrote:I still prefer the barbarian from Dragon to the version in UA, ditto with some of the spells even.
Before or after the errata in Dragon #65?
Falconer wrote:It's in #67 where he talks about the Barbarian and game balance.
grodog wrote:I do use the errata from 65 in general, although I can certainly imagine games where that's not applicable, and I also thought that there was another set of comments added about the barbarian somewhere else, but I can't seem to find them now (my campaign folder is upstairs, and Heather's already asleep...).
grodog wrote:Falconer wrote:It's in #67 where he talks about the Barbarian and game balance.
Thanks Philip: I flipped through 67, but must have missed it.
Matthew wrote:Interesting. I am not a big fan of the errata regarding magical weapons, possibly because of the Phoenix on the Sword or other instances where Conan is aided by a magic item of some description. On the other hand, it works well for his fight with the demon thing in the Slithering Shadow (assuming an AD&D paradigm bolted onto the tale).
Matthew wrote:That said, I am not exactly a proponent of the barbarian subclass to begin with.
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